Wednesday 25 July 2007

Oman: Moroccan fare

It was eerily quiet as we arrived at the Shahrazad restaurant in the Shangri-La resort. Inside the hotel obsequious staff pounced upon us as and guided us downstairs. Two more staff, pleased to see any form of life, directed us into the restaurant. Inside, a waiter with an outrageous French-Arabic accent lead us to our booth lined with gold and brown silk curtains while Moroccan music twanged in the background.

After consulting the menu, Mrs M chose the set meal which included samples of just about every thing Moroccan while I had a more modest lamb tagine. Mother’s meal commenced with a hearty soup followed by an assortment of the most delicious salad dishes. A pigeon pie then arrived, dusted in icing sugar and cinnamon stripes. Realising the magnitude of the task ahead, mother requested a doggy bag for said pie which was declined 'for safteeey reasons'.

Five, yes five tagines were then arranged on the table with their ceramic chimneys standing proud. It was an enormous amount of food which would have been more than enough for four people. I am ashamed to say that an obscene amount of food was left and presumably thrown away. I thought the French word ‘degustation’ meant a sample of dishes but clearly in Morocco it means ‘numerous buckets’.

Yet still more was to come. A tray of pastries overshadowed a loosely-stacked pastry tower with an icing sugar summit. Finally, Moroccan sweet tea rounded off the epic session. The bill arrived in a silver chest and we departed many rials lighter for the experience. It was excellent food, but the meal will be remembered for the quantity as much as the quality.

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